A Conference of Priests

A Conference of Priests September 21, 2007

A skein of Canadian geese flew in,
circled around and settled on the lake.
They were a somber band, dressed all in black
with patches of white at their throat. Like foreign
agents, or soldiers of an élite corps;
they were leaders of the resistance,
bound by a solemn oath of obedience,
and a secret code of honor learned at war.

After grazing they gathered to confer.
I watched them clear for take off, then they flew
off on their secret mission—God knows where.
They flew by strict formation. How they knew
where they were going, or how to get there,
I cannot know; nor can I hope to see
their secret calling and their destiny.
I cannot grasp such preternatural things,
but as I watched them gather, land and fly,
I glimpsed in their majestic outspread wings
a force that reconciles earth and sky.

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  • Anonymous

    You think they’re learned at war by watching them at a distance, get a little closer next time and you will know how trained for war they can be. Geese are mean.

  • fried chicken strips

    Father, posts are published directly without your consent. Did you intend this?

  • Rose Marie

    A beautiful metaphor!

  • We have these birds even in Birmingham!

  • Anonymous

    “…off on their secret mission—God knows where.” …perhaps on the hill at St Joseph’s? The gaggle of 30 or so geese that occupy the lawn are so majestic. Thank you for your poetry

  • Anonymous

    Just a technical point:They are not Canadian geese (even when they’re from Canada!). They are Canada Geese. 😉

  • I believe in the USA we call them ‘Canadian Geese’ and in the UK we call them ‘Canada Geese’

  • Anonymous

    Dear Fr. Dwight,Anonymous is right, indeed. They are Canada Geese. A small technicality, I know. Through (mis-)usage, the aberrant “Canadian Goose” has come to be accepted, though not among birding purists. Generally those things called “Canadian” hail from Canada. The Canada goose knows no such geo-political boundaries. Lovely: “I glimpsed in their majestic outspread wings/a force that reconciles earth and sky.” Much glory to you!